The Salt Lake City 14th Ward Album Quilt, 1857

Stories of the Relief Society Women and their Quilt

Carol Holindrake Nielson

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Subjects: Utah, Women's History

9780874807929 (paperback)

Quilts are a lot like people. They are not overnight undertakings. They seldom turn out the way they were intended. Colors change when you run short of fabric. Edges misalign where you least expect it.

When Carol Nielson and her husband inherited an album quilt—half a quilt, to be precise—she had no idea of the journey on which the fragile folds of appliqués and painstaking stitches would call her. Created in 1857 by the women of the Salt Lake City LDS 14th Ward, the quilt was raffled off to raise money for the poor, the Perpetual Immigrating Fund, and for various Mormon charitable enterprises. Each block was designed and signed by one of the women, many of whom were wives of leading church authorities.

Nielson’s desire to find the quilt’s other half, and to find out more about the women whose legacy she had—both literally and figuratively—inherited, led her back in time through countless lives of hardship, joy, and spiritual conviction in the face of adversity.

Filled with detailed photographs of the quilt and images of those who stitched the blocks, this book is a stirring read, a rich and beautiful testimony to women whose hands shaped not only thread and cloth, but also a state, forging a community with their pioneer spirit.

Winner of the Utah Book Award in Nonfiction.